Sunday, January 29, 2017

Carl Sagan Quote on Future Proved Eerily on the Mark

Last week, during the first full week of the Trump presidency, there was a quote by Carl Sagan that suddenly grew quite popular and was floating all over the place on the internet.

This quote basically tells of a future that he saw for America. Not a good, promising one, but rather a grim future during an information age of, in his words, "awesome technological powers" that remain "in the hands of a very few" and where leaders cannot even begin to understand the issues of the day, let alone be trusted to fix them.

In this alarmingly accurate vision, he saw his country slipping "almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness..."

Well, that is indeed a fascinating quote, and it seems very understandable why it was floating around so prominently around the internet, given how accurate it appears to be in this age of a Donald Trump presidency, where facts and the plain truth no longer seem to hold currency in the opinions of most, and where our "leaders" offer dumbed down "solutions" which are actually themselves at least part of the problem, if not outright the problem themselves. This dark world was one of very short soundbites and television programming that catered exclusively to the lowest common denominator and where the entire culture seemed to be sacrificed to "a kind of celebration of ignorance."

This does indeed seem to have come to pass, as Sagan's dark vision for the future has largely come true. Here is the full quote:

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...

"The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”

 ― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

The internet is freaking out over this spooky prediction by Carl Sagan about the future It's disturbingly accurate. BEC CREW 25 JAN 2017


  1. I wonder if Carl Sagan ever had bouts with despair. He always struck me as being far more intelligent (and wiser) than the vast majority of us, and I'd be curious to know how he felt about us as a species. Did he ever think to himself, "Humanity, for all of its brilliance and achievements, is a basket case. Things aren't going to haphazardly improve. If we haven't evolved more than this, if the human population continues to expand exponentially and if we continue to think in terms of 'conquering' nature as opposed to living in harmony with it, our long-term prospects aren't overly promising."

  2. “Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”
    ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos

    Humans are good, she knew, at discerning subtle patterns that are really there, but equally so at imagining them when they are altogether absent.
    - Carl Sagan

    “Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

    The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

    Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

    The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

    It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”
    ― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
    tags: earth, perspective, space 3221 likes Like
    “Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”
    ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos
    tags: humanity, individuality, love, mercy 2947 likes Like
    “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”
    ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos

  3. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
    ― Carl Sagan
    tags: evidence, faith, science, skepticism 1046 likes Like
    “Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?”
    ― Carl Sagan
    tags: agnosticism, humility, science, skepticism, truth 1013 likes Like
    “In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.”
    ― Carl Sagan
    tags: politics, religion, science 906 likes Like
    “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.”
    ― Carl Sagan
    tags: imagination 879 likes Like
    “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”
    ― Carl Sagan, Contact
    tags: vastness-people-love 872 likes Like
    “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
    ― Carl Sagan

    “We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.”
    ― Carl Sagan

    “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”
    ― Carl Sagan

    A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.
    -Carl Sagan

    And perhaps the most hopeful and helpful quote to remember by Carl Sagan given these times which we live in:

    This planet is run by crazy people. Remember what they have to do to get where they are. Their perspective is so narrow, so...brief. A few years. In the best of them a few decades. They care only about the time they are in power.
    - Carl Sagan

  4. Human beings have a demonstrated talent for self-deception when their emotions are stirred.